A productive conference call is equal parts art and science. The art of a good meeting includes organization, a clear agenda and purpose, and scheduling. The science requires having a clear line, lining people up with the right technology, and getting everyone to participate. Many businesses grapple with getting both the art and the science right.
When “Free” Conference Calling Costs You Money
Some companies pay a monthly fee for a conference call service that they found online because it was cheap. They fill out the forms, get a number to call into, and then email that number around in an Outlook invitation. When it comes time for the call, some employees might be dialing long distance in order to join the meeting. What you save on conference calls, you might be spending on long distance charges.
Similarly, people might even attempt to save money by passing around a single username and password. The cost-per-sign-on price might be low, but the trick is to make sure no one uses it at the same time as someone else in the company. This creates scheduling conflicts and confusion about the consistent number to call for a meeting.
If these problems happen with internal conference calls, they amplify with outside callers. As soon as you leave your network, you deal with unpredictable call quality. You don’t know if the other callers have the right software on their computers. If they don’t get the access numbers right, they could accidentally join any of a million other conference calls.
Those “free” conference calling sites can end up costing your business a lot in terms of expense and lost revenue. Not exactly the money-saver they claim to be.
Conference Calling Built Into the System
A more cost-effective way to manage your company’s conference calling needs is with conference call capabilities built-in to your office phone system. Phone systems from Allworx allow you to generate and participate in conference calls right from your desk phone. An administrator can reserve a repeating call bridge so that everyone can dial into the same number every week. Calls take place on a secure conference bridge easily maintained by your own company.
Easy Administration and Monitoring
Because this is a secure managed conference bridge, your IT department or other admin has more control than ever. They can schedule and create bridges, remove someone from an active conference call, and make sure all conference calls are secured with a username and password. There are no fees per user or per minute, so your company can talk and grow as much as you want.
Mobile admins can see from their tablet how many conference calls were used in the last week or month and set up new calls. Every person has their own user number so that there is no security issue with shared usernames and passwords. Additionally, you can control who has access to your conference call system. If an employee leaves your company, you can terminate their access to your system. That’s something you can’t do with a shared login unless you’re prepared to change it every time someone leaves.
Ad Hoc Conference Calls
Frictionless meetings mean faster decisions and less stalling for your business.
Ad Hoc conference calls allow your employees the flexibility they need to add call participants on the fly. Say, for example, that Jay and Sue are discussing the web design budget for next year. If Sue knows that Dave can answer a particular question, she can easily bring Dave into the conversation. No need to log in and set up a web meeting and send out invitations. Move the budget planning process forward with an Ad Hoc conference call to answer questions immediately.
More Communication Means Fewer Problems
If you have multiple locations, the burden of a meeting can make your staff put it off until it’s absolutely necessary. If everyone on the team is within arms’ reach, they are going to communicate more and assume less. Productivity guru Michael Hyatt says that weekly meetings help prevent the crisis of the day. If you plan ahead and make it easy for your team to communicate with each other, your business will run better. A weekly call into the same number at the same time gives staff the stability of knowing when to bring up questions and problems in right place.
Real Options for Real Business
If your business has grown up and is too big for web-based conference calls that are made for freelancers and small business, let’s talk about a secure conference bridge from Allworx. With one single license purchase, you can have unlimited users with a maximum of 30 people on 4 different calls at the same time. You’ll be more confident about how people are talking to each other and your employees will be confident on calls with customers. If you’d like to find out more about how Allworx conferencing can help your business, give us a call.